Jeremiah’s indictment of the character of the Israelites is just another reaffirmation of the depravity of all mankind. I’ve asked hundreds if not thousands of people the question, “If you were to die and find yourself at the gates of heaven and God would ask you, ‘Why should I let you in?’” The answer has been overwhelmingly something like this: “I’ve tried my best. I’ve not murdered anyone. I’m not as bad as Hitler. I’m a pretty decent person. I’ve been good.” Well the Bible repeats the truth often that there is none good, no not one, each has turned from God to take his own path in life. But we like to compare ourselves with others. We seem to think that since we might be better than Charles Manson or some other wicked sinner that we’re not that bad and God will overlook our little sins and open the gates for us.

Jeremiah 6:13 adds another indictment to all humanity. It doesn’t differentiate between good, better, and best. Or Bad, badder and worse. Even those who we might think as being in the upper levels of righteousness aren’t. Jeremiah writes, “For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely.” We’ve been watching some old episodes of “House, MD.” Old rabid, nasty, insulting Dr. House has a theory that is mentioned often in the episodes I’ve seen. He says, “Everybody lies.” Well, he’s just quoting Jeremiah! The New Testament, Romans 3:23, adds an interesting phrase after the indictment “all have sinned.” It goes on to say “and fall short of the glory of God.” This falling short is to miss the mark in the original language. The law teaches us how to “be perfect as God is perfect.”

In Luke 10, a religious leader asks Jesus what he must do to go to heaven. Jesus asks him a question in return; “What does the law teach you?” The man answers, “Love God with your whole heart and your whole soul, and your whole mind and your whole strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus says, “Do this and you will live.” The religious leader knows he hasn’t done that so he begins to debate with Jesus regarding who his neighbor is. The religious leader was quoting from the book of the Law (Deuteronomy 6). Jesus said that love for God and love for neighbor is the ultimate fulfillment of the whole law. So in essence Jesus was telling the man that he must be perfect. Jesus is really saying to the self-righteous man, “good luck with that!” If the man would repent and say, “I can’t. I want to, but I can’t” Jesus would have said something like, “I know, but I can. And I will do it for you.” At the gates of heaven or in everyday life on earth I do not put my confidence in the flesh. I fail way too often. I put my confidence in Christ Jesus.